No Model Seen
Editor: I certainly agree that the health crisis in this country is scandalous, as Joan Lobell said in her Feb. 8 letter. However I must question her proposal to adopt the Canadian health plan model. Ms. Lobell suggests that we ask any Canadian if he or she would move here for health care after crossing the border for elective surgery.
We might better ask the Canadians why they are crossing the border for elective surgery? Canadians, myself included, are very aware of the inadequacies of our health-care system. If Ms. Lobell is looking for a fair system, I would suggest that the Canadian system can provide that -- if you are willing to accept the level of care being offered.
Elective surgery for what may be a very debilitating ailment may take months to be scheduled. In some cases there is a limit to how many procedures per year can be performed at a particular hospital. One might ask an American in need of a cardiac catheterization if he or she would choose to be a patient in Canada in December when the catheterization quotas have already been filled.
Canadians doctors, long frustrated by a fettered and difficult working situation, have gone on strike, left their country to work in the United States or, as many are doing now, work only the two weeks out of four for which they are basically getting paid.
The end result of all of this is poor patient care. Fewer and fewer qualified people are choosing to enter the field of medicine. Where does that leave us in the end?
Editor: The University of Maryland is to eliminate eight academic departments affecting 1,700 students but not eliminate any faculty members?
The faculty members are to be assigned to other academic disciplines. What other disciplines? Isn't the purpose of the university to teach? How many hours do each of the faculty spend teaching now? If there are to be 1,700 students that can no longer be supported by state funds why must the faculty be retained?
The messages seems clear. The administrators are more interested in retaining the present faculty than in educating the students.
If the present staff were required to spend more time on instruction and less on writing papers or doing research, then the proposed savings of $3.7 million could be achieved.
When GM or IBM downsize, unnecessary employees are let go. Where is it written that unnecessary faculty at the University of Maryland are not normal human beings? Where is it written that the administrators of the university have the right to preserve their empire even if the state taxpayers are overburdened?
Charles D. Connelly.
Editor: As religious coordinator for Maryland Right To Life, I need to take issue with statements made by Rev. Matthew McNaught of Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights in his Feb. 3 letter to the editor.
The single issue of pregnancy as a result of incest or rape is so minute that it should not even be considered as a valid motive for destroying an innocent infant for the crime of its father. Less than one percent of all pregnancies are the result of these criminal acts.
What is worse is that the crimes of incest and rape are not even investigated if the victim decides to get an abortion.
This is absolutely deplorable in the case of minors who have abortions without parental notification, much less consent, and the criminal father is not even indicted for his crime of statutory rape, a felony in Maryland.
There is no moral defense for induced abortion. No woman has any right to commit a moral wrong.
There is no Biblical basis for claiming that a woman has this "religious liberty" and "it is her God-given sovereignty over her own body." For hundreds of years the church and state both agreed on this ethical issue.
Nobody has any God-given sovereignty over his or her own body. We are not our own; we belong to God.
The state places limitations on what we may or may not do to our own bodies for the common welfare. You may not jeopardize the freedom of another, walk naked down the street, jump in front of a moving car, mutilate your body, use drugs abusively or alcohol excessively.
These are all crimes against self and society, restricted by laws, for which a person may be arrested, tested and incarcerated. Where is this "God-given sovereignty over her own body"?
The simple moral dilemma is that every abortion stops the beating heart of an innocent human being who is denied the right to live and to make this choice for himself or herself.
Robert T. Woodworth.
Editor: The possibility of Baltimore City withdrawing financial support from its cultural institutions is probably the narrowest, most short-sighted, and potentially the most damaging solution imaginable to Baltimore's budgetary problems.
I won't ask Mayor Schmoke and his cabinet to go to other major cities and try to imagine them without their museums. And I won't ask why Baltimore City should be supporting a children's museum located in Baltimore County, a museum that I personally support.
But I will ask our political leaders to remember the millions of dollars that were found, and then lost, in the name of saving the Belvedere Hotel.
In the long run, to not support the arts is to not support the city.
Sara W. Levi.
Go for the Goal on Recycling Alternatives
Editor: It was very discouraging to listen to the president's recent State of the Union address. Although his lack of comprehension of this country's problems may be good news for a Democratic presidential hopeful, it's nevertheless bad news for a nation that must endure his kind of leadership for at least another 11 months.
In the meantime, I hope that the Congress will use its powers to make some positive moves to stimulate the economy and that some presidential candidate will come along who will be able to develop concrete ideas for long-term as well as the short-term solutions.
Essentially, we must create jobs by developing new industries. These should not be ones that serve only the American public, but industries whose products will reach a world-wide market. We have to look at the world's needs and see how our talents and resources can be used to fulfill these needs. Then, the government can encourage the development of these new industries through loan, grants and tax-rebate types of programs.
An industry in the development stage which has enormous potential is the recycling industry, from the collection through processing to manufacture and marketing of products made with recycled materials. Since our country is the largest user and discarder of new material, our resources are enormous. And, presuming that it costs less to make something new from recycled material, there should be a ready world market for these products.
Concern for the environment provides us with the opportunity to develop an industry focusing on products that make toxic wastes harmless and that could supply another worldwide market. Similarly, products that purify drinking water, as well as those that enable people to reuse gray water (from the washing machine, for instance), should find a ready world market. These types of products already exist but have the potential for tremendous growth.
Finally, development of alternative energy sources constitutes a large industry that should receive more government support than it does. And I don't mean nuclear energy. I mean the energy in the wind, sun, water and heat. Could someone, for instance, invent a gadget that would capture and store up the energy from the heat in my Baltimore attic in the summer that could be used later on to light a lamp, run the refrigerator or power a car?
We can't continue to do things the way we've always done them in this country. We must get an edge on our competitors (Germany, Japan, etc.) through government assistance and sponsorship of programs for new industry.
For those who would say that government spends too much already, how about this? If the government does make a grant to a company for research and development, could the government recoup that expenditure through ownership of stock in the company?
Audrey B. Schell.